Trigger point injections (TPI) are a popular treatment for chronic muscle pain, tension headaches, and fibromyalgia. Depending on the cause of the trigger point, this therapy may provide a permanent solution or simply relieve pain for several weeks or months. TPI can cause temporary pain for a day or two, and multiple injections at once may cause mild dizziness for several hours. Rare adverse effects, such as bleeding, allergies, infections, and nerve damage, are mainly due to clinical errors and adverse reactions from the injections.
The trigger point disappears after an injection, usually if you avoid the action that is causing the trigger point. Trigger point injections can be a safe treatment for chronic pain conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and tension headaches. First, your healthcare provider will feel the trigger point to identify the exact areas of the muscle where the knots or trigger points are located. Trigger point injections can treat chronic muscle pain related to myofascial trigger points, which are bundles of very sensitive fibers in tight muscle bands.
Trigger points in the shoulders, neck, and head may contribute to migraine and tension headache disorders according to the American Migraine Foundation. While trigger point injections may offer significant benefits for some people, several researchers have found that this therapy may be ineffective. During the procedure, the doctor will insert a small needle into a myofascial trigger point and inject the medication. The pain resulting from the injection is completely different from the pain associated with the trigger points.
Trigger point injections can reduce localized muscle pain by relaxing the affected muscles, and researchers believe that the injections interrupt the nerve signaling pathways that cause referred pain. If the trigger points come back in the same place over and over again, you may need more rounds of trigger point therapy. One of the other treatments that are also recommended for relieving trigger points is known as dry needling on trigger points. Doctors use trigger point injections to treat chronic muscle pain and other problems affecting the musculoskeletal system.
There are several ways to treat trigger points and relieve pain that don't include needles. Trigger point injections may provide immediate pain relief for some people, while others may not respond to treatment. Trigger points that arise due to chronic conditions (fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome) keep recurring. The benefits of triggering point injections last between a few days and months, depending on the patient's condition and the medication injected.
Studies show that both TPI and dry needling are as effective as each other at myofascial trigger points. The researchers found significantly more myofascial trigger points in the migraine group.